In Sweden, recent developments involving reduced resources for medical services combined with an increase in chronic diseases, such as dyspepsia and IBS, may cause people to seek complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Most persons strive for a cure for their chronic symptoms.
Complementary and alternative medicine is defined as self-initiated healthcare measures taken to achieve symptom relief and can serve as alternative or complementary treatments to those provided by medical services. It is clear that Dyspepsia and IBS have a substantial public health impact; subsets of people are severely impaired by their symptoms and feel lost in the medical care system. There is a need for increased knowledge about CAM use so that patients can be supported in discussions of both conventional and alternative therapeutic options to alleviate their symptom burden.
Nurses have here a unique opportunity to expand their roles within this group of patients. Increased knowledge of CAM practices would enable a more comprehensive patient assessment and a better plan for meaningful interventions that meet the needs of individual patients.
Kerstin Stake-Nilsson, University of Gävle